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Cuties in Cloth

Updated on January 7, 2014
Not your grandma's diapers!
Not your grandma's diapers!

When I first suggested that I wanted to try cloth diapering, my parents, and my husband, lost their minds. My parents seemed to think that this was an inconvenient and outdated practice and my husband's argument was that it's just plain smelly.

The truth is that I can't blame them for being confused by my desire to use cloth diapers. When I first discovered that there were modern women who were using cloth diapers, I was shocked! I figured that it had to only be the poorest of the poor who used cloth diapers, or those who were very environmentally conscious and courageous enough to go through the extra "hassle" I felt was associated with cloth. Then I began to seek out more information, and the more I discovered, the more amazed I became!

My daughter got never-ending yeast infections from Pampers.
My daughter got never-ending yeast infections from Pampers.
Seventh Generation Diapers are biodegradable!
Seventh Generation Diapers are biodegradable!

Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers

In my research, I uncovered several solid reasons to use cloth diapers over disposable diapers. Whatever your feelings on earth-friendly products and whatever your income, you should still be able to find a good reason to use cloth on this list!

Disposable Diapers Contain Harmful Chemicals

My research shows that disposable diapers include trace amounts of Dioxin, a toxic by-product of the paper bleaching process applied to disposable diapers. This chemical is a known carcinogen and is known by the EPA to be the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals.

Another chemical found in disposable diapers is Tributyl-tin, known to cause hormonal problems in both humans and animals.

Finally, the absorbant "beads" in disposable diapers contain a similar chemical to that which was used in super-absorbancy tampons and which is associated with toxic-shock syndrome!

On a personal note, I don't need to research to know that my own children have experienced allergic reactions from disposable diapers, including allergic rashes and yeast infections.

Disposable Diapers are Worse for the Environment

Unlike cloth diapers, disposable diapers are thrown away, and often the fecal matter is disposed of improperly. In a household with one child in diapers, disposable diapers take up up to 50% of household waste.

Cloth diapers are reusable in more ways than one. Mothers who sew their own cloth diapers are often recycling other items, including t-shirts and flannel pajamas. Old towels can be used as soakers instead of being thrown away. Then, when the child is no longer using diapers, the diaper is recycled into a cloth for house cleaning purposes!

Cloth Diapers are More Comfortable for Baby

As a society, we have stopped thinking about what is more comfortable and best for our children and have begun to opt for the "easy" option. We bottle feed so that we don't have to be "inconvenienced" with nursing or with expressing breast milk, we put our children in disposable diapers, we feed packaged baby foods, we allow ourselves to be convinced by doctors to vaccinate our children and more.

Babies aren't convenient. In fact, they are often very inconvenient. You have brought a small human into the world, and it is time that we begin to think about what is best for that small human.

Cloth diapers generally have a better fit than disposable diapers. Additionally, they are made from real cotton (and occasionally nylon) fibers. Disposable diapers, no matter how high the quality, are made from paper.

Disposable Diapers Might be Less Convenient

Depending on your perspective, it might be more convenient to use cloth diapers! You will save yourself "diaper runs" when you have used the last disposable and your baby will never have to wait in a wet diaper while you rush to the store to make a necessary purchase. Disposable diapers cannot be reused and therefore might be considered less convenient.

Cloth Diapers are More Economical

In today's economic climate, who wouldn't want something that is more economical? While the up-front cost of purchasing cloth diapers is higher than the purchase price of a package or two of disposable diapers, the long-term cost of choosing cloth diapers is lower than electing for the more costly disposable diapers.

Different Types of Cloth Diapers

There are several different types of cloth diapers. A good "stash" includes some of each, depending on your budget.

Chinese Prefolds
Chinese Prefolds

Prefold Diapers

Prefolds are the diapers that most people think of when they think "cloth diapers." These will require a diaper cover, diaper pins or snappis. This is the most basic of the cloth diapers and can usually be found at a very fair price and are readily available.

Be careful, however, when purchasing prefolds. During my pregnancy with my daughter I looked into the prefolds sold at Babies R' Us and discovered that they were not diaper service quality (DSQ). Diaper service quality diapers are preferred!

Kissaluvs fitted diapers
Kissaluvs fitted diapers

Fitted Cloth Diapers

Fitted cloth diapers look and work very much like disposable diapers, and will therefore be familiar to parents who have used disposable diapers in the past. These diapers help to contain leaks and messes better because of the elastic at the legs at at the back of the diaper.

These diapers provide much of the convenience of a disposable diaper without the environmental implications. They are more comfortable for baby and fitted diapers are a very economical choice!

Pockets on a line
Pockets on a line

Pocket Diapers

Pocket diapers are another popular option, and one which I simply love. These diapers must be stuffed with a soaker of some kind, with Chinese prefold diapers often being the soaker of choice. There are specially made liners for these diapers or you can even use old hand towels, proving just how economical the cloth diapering option really is!

Using Pocket Diapers

All in one diapers are much like disposables!
All in one diapers are much like disposables!

All in One Diapers

All in one diapers (AIOs) will be the most familiar type of diaper to users of disposable diapers. These diapers include the soaking part of the diaper and the outer cover in one piece. The outer cover is usually made of a waterproof fabric (such as PUL) and the liner is a soft and absorbant fabric against baby's delicate skin!

These are often a favorite amongst fans of cloth diapering!

Caring for your Cloth Diapers

There is no way around it: Your cloth diapers are going to need to be washed. You might choose to use a diaper service, but you are probably going to want to wash your diapers at home. There are steps that you can take to avoid stains on your diapers as well as the odors associated with very small children.

Storing your (Soiled) Diapers

You have two options for storing your soiled diapers: Dry or wet pails. Dry storage is recommended due to odor issues associated with stagnant water.

You will need to purchase a pail to use for your diapers. I like to use something that helps to keep odors from escaping into the household environment, so I like to use something that has a lid. Baking soda can be sprinkled over the diapers in order to help to neutralize odors.

Two dozen at a time!
Two dozen at a time!

Washing Cloth Diapers

This might be the point that you've been dreading: "All" the extra laundry. But the truth is that with one baby, you should only be needing to wash your cloth diapers once every two days, and the process is simple!

No more than two dozen diapers should be washed at once. This helps to ensure that the diapers are cleaned thoroughly as well as to prevent pilling. Make sure that all diapers are open and velco fastened. Double-check to ensure that any liners are removed from the diapers before washing!

Run a cold rinse cycle on the diapers. If you have a pre-rinse cycle, use that, or skip the wash and go straight for the rinse. This will help to lift the stains out of your diapers.

Once your diapers have rinsed, do a hot wash with a cold rinse. You must select your detergent carefully, as chemicals will irritate your baby's skin! Bi-O-Kleen is a good option. See the links below for a chart that lists the various options you have for washing your baby's diapers. You should use a fraction of the detergent that you would for a load of family laundry.

Once the diapers are clean and odor-free, it is time to move them out to the line, or to toss them into the dryer! When hung on the line your diapers should be triple-hung to prevent them from becoming dry due to fast-drying methods. Line drying has many benefits including sun bleaching!

Making Your Own

One of the things that I love about cloth diapering is the fact that you can recycle older clothes in order to make something new. In this case, diapers. There are several patterns available and these can be found on Ebay and on cloth diapering websites, all for a cost. You can, additionally, create your own pattern for your diapers!

I have included links with resources for making your own diapers below as well as some cloth diapering resource sites.

Cloth is Just Plain Cute!

Whether you are the proud parent of a baby boy or a baby girl, or if you are still expecting, cloth is just plain cute! "Fluff" can become quite the obsession, however, so as you begin this journey into the joys of cloth diapering that you will likely never have enough cloth diapers to meet your own crazed addiction! Cloth is cute, and little baby bottoms covered in cloth make baby look quite stylish!

I hope you have found this article informative and interesting, and that you will consider giving cloth diapers a chance!


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    • profile image

      Faisal 3 years ago

      Potty training is how I first got statred on cloth!! I didn't want to buy pull ups. Then we switched to cloth for our son, too. Now #3 is on the way and I'm adding to the stash!

    • profile image

      Baby Diapers Online 3 years ago

      I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 

      and I am completely satisfied with your website. 

      All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

      Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.

      turn you are sharing with each one!….

    • boxxies profile image

      boxxies 7 years ago

      Very well done.

      I love cloth diapers and that's what I used most

      of the time when my sons were little.

      But today they are so much cuter!


    • Muse Peggy profile image

      Muse Peggy 8 years ago

      Bravo!!! My son who is now 26 and could be a parent himself. He was one of the original children of the 'Earth Movement'. I used cloth diapers from a diaper service but I imagine those have gone the way of dinosaurs (too bad) breast fed him for 8 months until I was too skinny and had to wean him then made his baby food with organic food. I'm soooo glad to see the 'movement' returning - I hope you are successful convincing young parents to keep their own health good, provide excellent food and care for their children and to stimulate their children and to hang up their cell phones when they are with their children. I didn't check but you probably have those topics covered as well. Keep up the good work - now I really am going to bed.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Freida, is it possible that it was an allergy to the detergent you used to wash the diapers? What about dyes in the diapers? My daughter is allergic to red dyes.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      My I just say you sure know your cloth diapers. Great informtion! We used cloth diapers for our first, but for some reason he developed an allergic reaction. Had I known all this info, I could have gone a better route and kept with it in some way. Wonderful hub as usual. Thanks for all the tips, info, advice, and possibilities.

    • Christa Dovel profile image

      Christa Dovel 9 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      I certainly found cloth diapers to be more convenient than disposable diapers for the reasons you mentioned, as well as the fact that less clothing was stained by 'blow outs' when using cloth.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 9 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Thank you, Shawna!

    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 9 years ago from Arizona

      Wow, this is really informative. Good job and thanks for the useful information!